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Postulated ALUMINIUM links to Alzheimer’s Disease – a long dead issue.

Aanhaling uit AFSA News(Aluminium Federation of Southern Africa) – Spring/summer 2007

The major expressed public concern about aluminium and health is postulated links to Alzheimer’s disease. Active researchers consider the Aluminium hypothesis of a link to Alzheimer’s a long dead issue.

Alzheimers was identified in 1906. The most credible sources of information on Alzheimer's are medical sources and the various Alzheimer's Associations. The only known cause is genetic.

RESEARCH AREAS WORLD-WIDE INCLUDE:

  1. Genetic factors,
  2. Abnormal accumulations of protein,
  3. Infectious agents, such as slow acting viruses,
  4. Inadequate blood flow and energy metabolism,
  5. A neurotransmitter deficiency, and
  6. Environmental toxins. (Aluminium, the third most common element on earth, is a subsection of this)

Of the six basic areas of consideration involving Alzheimer’s disease, the only area where any significant results have been achieved are genetic. In 1991 St. Mary's Hospital Medical School Paddington, London, suggested a breakthrough related to genetic traits that predispose some to early Alzheimer's as a result of protein accumulation. They suggested a problem with chromosome 19, a genetic mutation that leads to the formation of amyloid, a protein that is found in abnormally large quantities in the brains of those who have Alzheimer's. Duke University Medical Centre has found that late stage Alzheimer's patients have a strong link to a genetic defect called ApoE4.

As the third most common element on the earths crust (the upper 16km) aluminium is unavoidable. Aluminium oxides and salts are found in food and in water. It would be surprising if it were toxic to humans. Medically one can check the very high doses of aluminium compounds used, for instance, in ulcer treatment and introduced directly into the stomach, something easy to check in your local pharmacy. The aluminium salt content of one pill is about the same as a typical water reservoir, about 30 years of drinking water for one person.) Canadian research in the early 1970’s postulated a possible link of aluminium to Alzheimer’s. Over the next decade or so intensive research gave no further clues, or even determined whether aluminium was a cause or an effect. Other directions of research continued. By the late 80’s interest in aluminium had waned.

1992 research at Oxford using nuclear microscopy found the research method to have been faulty – the aluminium found was introduced in error by researchers who used stains containing aluminium to highlight cell structure differences. Aluminium has been off the main Alzheimer’s research map for around 15 years.

The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) reported as far back as 1987 on relationship between humans and aluminium simply stated "The FDA has no information at this time that the normal dietary intake of aluminium, whether from naturally occurring levels in food, the use of aluminium cookware, or from aluminiumcontaining food additives, or drugs is harmful" The most recent extensive aluminium linked overview is from December 1999. Ted Lidsky (Head - Centre for trace element studies and environmental neuro toxicology - Institute of Basic Research –- Statton Island, NY - Ted Lidsky - tlidsky@monmouth.com) issued a paper titled “The Current Status of the Aluminium Hypothesis of Alzheimers Disease”. Lidsky’s conclusion is that none of the data suggested as supporting the Aluminium Hypothesis of SDAT withstands the scrutiny of critical review, that it is a fringe theory in science. He notes that, of the 15 000 papers at a recent Society of Neuroscience meeting, only 6 dealt with aluminium in any context. Of the 59 papers concerning Alzheimers at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, not a single one involved aluminium. Lidsky concluded that active researchers consider the Aluminium hypothesis a dead issue.